Drunk in Charge – The Facts
Drink driving is not the only way alcohol and vehicles can get you prosecuted. There is also a criminal offense of being ‘drunk in charge’.
According to the law it is an offense for a person to be in charge of a motor vehicle on a road or other public place with excess alcohol in their breath, blood or urine, but what is classed as being in charge of a vehicle?
In cases of drunk in charge, each case is dependent on the facts relating to that specific case, but as a general guide a motorist is deemed to be in charge if they are the owner of the vehicle, are in possession of the vehicle or have driven the vehicle recently. You are not seen to be in charge of the vehicle if you are a considerable distance from the vehicle or if whoever is driving holds a full license.
For example if someone was attempting to remove a parking clamp then this wouldn’t count as drunk in charge as there is clearly no intention or way they could drive. An example of when someone would be seen to be drunk in charge would be if a mother was supervising her son who was driving on a provisional license, when she was over the drinking limit, as she may need to take the wheel if he became unable to drive.
The penalties for conviction of drunk in charge are a maximum fine of 2500, a maximum 3 month prison sentence and a maximum of 10 penalty points, and as a defendant you must prove that you were unlikely to drive rather than the prosecutor proving you were likely to drive.
A wide range of evidence can prove this, including medical evidence to show how soon the defendant would come back within the legal limit, a hotel booking or a receipt for overnight parking.